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Hungarians Barred from Aiding Refugees; Thousands Harried by Police

The Hungarian authorities have issued an order providing for arrest and heavy fine for anyone giving individual charity or shelter to a person who entered Hungary illegally. The order also required illegal immigrants to report to the police within 24 hours.

Since the majority of the 5,000 Jewish refugees from the Reich and Nazi-occupied Poland were forced over the Hungarian frontier by the Gestapo, the new measures affect them, exposing them to life under constant harrying by the police, without food or shelter, since none dares to give them a meal or lodging for a night.

The Budapest Jewish Community intervened and obtained permission to take care of illegally-entered refugees, provided they are concentrated in special camps and maintained with Jewish funds.

Since no buildings are available to house the large number of refugees, one of the largest Budapest synagogues was converted into a concentration center for several hundred men, women and children, held behind locked doors. This is the fifth concentration center for Jewish refugees in Budapest.

Visiting the converted synagogue, this correspondent found police at every entrance, keeping a 24-hour watch to prevent any refugee from leaving the premises. Inside the synagogue were young and elderly men, unshaved, unwashed, lying on straw and separated from their wives and sisters. The women are kept separately in a garage on the synagogue premises.

The large synagogue courtyard resembles the courtyard of a prison. The refugees are permitted into the yard for a brief recess daily. Here, watched by the police, the families meet for a short time every day.

The refugees live on food delivered by the Jewish community and nervously await their future. Since few of them have emigration prospects, none can tell whether he will not be deported to Germany at any time. Panicky and feeling their plight to be hopeless, they do not know whence will come their salvation.

The burden of maintaining the 5,000 falls heavily on the Jewish community, which itself is becoming impoverished as result of the Government’s anti-Jewish policy.

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